LAKE, MI – The Bay Area Baptist Association (BABA) celebrated 54 years of ministry at its Annual Meeting on October 8 at Bethany Baptist Church in Lake, MI. At this meeting, the messengers conducted business, heard reports, fellowshipped together and celebrated many things God has done over the past year. BABA pastors received gift bags for Pastor Appreciation month containing lots of resources and access to more than 100 books.
The Audit Committee brought a favorable report stating that the Association was in good financial shape. In addition, they recommended a financial policy manual be developed and an external audit be conducted in 2017.
The BABA Constitution was given a complete overhaul including clarifying wording on marriage, gender and sexuality. We relaxed the definition of “participation” for cooperating churches to include any financial support, physical attendance/involvement at various meetings/events of the Association and/or by submitting an Annual Church Profile each year. Doing any of these things keeps a church in good standing with the Association. Also, the title was changed from Associational Minister to Associational Missionary to better fit the nomenclature used around the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Reports were received from each of the BABA ministry groups and from our BSCM guests, Darren and Sharon Greer. They shared about church planting around the state and the work of Michigan WMU. The Bay Area Baptist Association recognized, with a certificate and gift card, Helen Henley for serving faithfully as WMU leader for the last 22+ years. Also recognized, in absentia, was Pastor Steve Roe of Riverwalk Baptist Church, Bay City, for the three years he served as our Moderator.
In a major act of new business, Pastor Rodolfo Diaz-Pons of Riverbend Baptist Church, St. Louis moved that the Association establish an offering to be promoted annually in May. It was approved as the Tom and Sandy Martin Associational Offering. Tom faithfully served our Association for 23 years as the Director of Missions.
New officers were elected:
Moderator – Mike Wester (Lighthouse, Caro)
Vice-Moderator – Terry Wilson (Harmony, Mt. Pleasant)
Clerk – Patty Albright (Saginaw Valley, Saginaw)
Treasurer – Denise Taglauer (Crossway, Bay City)
Allan LaVigne, Pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Dodge City, brought the annual sermon. The meeting concluded with a meal in the church fellowship hall. After the meal, many stayed to participate in Crossover Lake. Last year, the BABA began to hold Crossover events in conjunction with the Annual Meeting to help the host church reach their community with the gospel.
Bethany Baptist Church, led by Pastor Malcolm Brown and Assistant Pastor Gene Hockey, has been extremely aggressive this year reaching into the community. They have gone door-to-door, hosted cookouts at a local park, held a hayride, and held a Fall festival. They are planning to have Thanksgiving and Christmas outreach initiatives as well. They have seen new people attending and getting involved in the church. Associational Missionary, David Roberts said, “I am extremely proud of all their efforts to get outside the walls of the church and reach people for Christ. I hope more of our churches will step up and step out in a similar fashion.”
Next year’s 55th Annual Meeting will be held October 7, 2017 at Harmony Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. David Roberts serves as Associational Missionary of the Bay Area Baptist Association of Michigan.